Israel may approve new Palestinian homes in Area C

Israel’s Security Cabinet is considering a new plan to legalise up to 700 homes for Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank.

According to a report in Kan News, the ministers discussed the plan to approve the Palestinian homes but no decision was reached due to reservations by some of the ministers, though it is expected to be approved.

The last time the Security Cabinet discussed significant Palestinian construction for Area C was in 2016, when 5,100 new homes in Qalqiliya were approved but because of a severe political backlash the plan was suspended. To counteract the expected political fallout this time, the Security Cabinet also discussed a proposal to approve 6,000 new homes in Israeli settlements in Area C.

This Security Cabinet meeting has been interpreted as a response to US pressure to approve more Palestinian construction in Area C.  Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are due to visit Israel later this week. They will also meet with Arab leaders to build support for the Palestinian economic plan which was published in June before the Bahrain conference.

Binyamin Regional Council Head Yisrael Gantz and Samaria Regional Council Chairman Yossi Dagan said: “The report about a meeting that was held by the Security Cabinet with the goal of approving a construction plan for Arabs in Area C is particularly worrying. The Palestinian Authority, with the assistance and funding of foreign elements, has engaged in massive illegal construction in those areas with the goal of establishing a terrorist state in the heart of the Land of Israel.”

Channel 13 News said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t need the security cabinet’s approval to build the new homes, but “is using the ministers as a political flak jacket”.

According to the Oslo Accords, the West Bank is divided into three areas: A, B and C. Area A is exclusively administered by the Palestinian Authority; Area B is administered by both the Palestinian Authority and Israel; and Area C, which contains Israeli settlements, is administered by Israel.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi hosted Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Cairo yesterday. The two leaders discussed efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reaffirming their support for a two-state solution. A joint statement called for a “Palestinian state based on the June 1967 boundaries with East Jerusalem as its capital”.